(Khartoum) The Sudanese capital is rocked by gunfire and explosions on Saturday evening after a day of deadly street fighting, air raids and threats by media and social networks interposed by the two generals in command of Sudan since the coup of 2021.

In Khartoum, where no one ventures outside their homes, columns of smoke rise above paramilitary headquarters, such as the international airport, as online calls for volunteers evoking “a large number of injured, some seriously”, in addition to the three dead in a first report announced by the doctors’ union.

Ceasefire calls—made by the UN, Washington, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Riyadh, the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union, and even former civilian prime minister Abdallah Hamdok— do nothing about it.

The paramilitaries “will not stop until they take control of all the military bases”, threatened, speaking quickly and loudly on the phone on Al-Jazeera channel, their commander, General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, said. “Hemedti”.

In the evening, on the Emirati channel Sky News Arabia, he repeated that he was “forced” to react. “We didn’t start it,” he said. “Burhane the criminal must surrender,” he said as gunshots echoed around him. “We should have it in the next few hours. »

Its Rapid Support Forces (RSF)—thousands of ex-Darfur war militiamen turned army auxiliaries—said to have taken over the international airport and the presidential palace.

The head of the army, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, has not appeared since the morning, but assures in a press release that he was “surprised at nine o’clock in the morning” by an attack on his headquarters by the FSR, his former best ally whom the army now refers to as a “foreign-backed militia” to carry out his “betrayal”.

The army posted a “wanted notice” against Hemedti on its Facebook page. “This fugitive criminal is wanted by the judiciary,” reads the photo montage, as another statement announces the disbanding of the FSR, calling on all of these men to surrender.

On both sides, no more hushed negotiations under the aegis of diplomats and other civilized discussions, the army mobilized its planes to strike – and “destroy”, she says – RSF bases in Khartoum.

As for calls to return to the negotiating table, the army replied that it was “impossible before the dissolution of the FSR”.

The latter have been calling since the morning on the 45 million Sudanese and even the military to “join them” and turn against the army.

Residents are confined to their homes. “I was going to work this morning, but as soon as I heard the gunshots, I went home,” Bakry, 24, told AFP.

“Everyone was scared and running to their house. The streets emptied all of a sudden,” added this private sector employee. “We had never seen that.”

Also sheltering in Khartoum, US Ambassador John Godfrey tweeted a “call on senior military commanders to stop fighting immediately”.

According to an initial report from the official doctors’ union, three civilians were killed – two in Khartoum and one in El-Obeid (south).

The two sides are still battling it out for control of the state media headquarters, witnesses say.

During the putsch, Hemedti and Burhane formed a common front to oust civilians from power. But over time, Hemedti has consistently denounced the coup.

Even recently, he sided with civilians — therefore against the army in political negotiations — blocking discussions and therefore any solution to the crisis in Sudan.

For days the streets had been buzzing with rumors of impending guerrilla warfare between the two sides, as RSF armored convoys converged on Khartoum each day.

The army denies the seizure of the airport, but assures that the FSR “infiltrated there and set fire to civilian planes, including one from Saudi Airlines”. The company in Riyadh said one of its aircraft was damaged by gunfire at Khartoum airport.

A video posted on Saturday by the FSR on Twitter shows men in uniforms presented as “Egyptian soldiers who surrendered with Sudanese soldiers” to the FSR in the military base of Meroe (north).

The Egyptian army spokesman said he was “monitoring the situation” confirming in a statement “the presence of Egyptian forces” in Sudan.

“They are safe and will be handed over to Egypt,” Hemedti told Sky News Arabia.

For the experts, the two commanders have not ceased in recent days to raise the stakes as civilians and the international community try to make them sign a political agreement supposed to relaunch the democratic transition.

The dispute between the two strong men concerns the future of the paramilitaries: the army does not refuse their integration into the regular troops, but it wants to impose its conditions of admission and limit their incorporation in time. General Daglo wants broad inclusion and, above all, his place within the general staff.